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Rated: 18+ · Short Story · Sci-fi · #2228742
Are we really intelligent life?
The white alien space ship hovered in the blanket of pale blue sky. The warmth of the sun faded under its huge shadow. I looked up at the monster underbelly, my cell phone camera clicking. Martha, my wife of six months stopped screaming when the red beam of light struck her dumb with fear.

“Some kind of tractor beam,” I murmured to myself. Martha struggled in the act of being lifted and carried inside. There was nowhere to go out here in the wide open Nevada desert around Area 69. I was next.

I shut my eyes and held my breath. When I opened them, the thing and Martha were gone. It wasn’t the aliens that captured me. It was a group of no nonsense military from the highly restricted government no fly zone research facility.

“Name?” A faceless mask dressed in a surgical gown asked me.

“I.D. is in the wallet you stole,” I said. “Nothing top secret about that. When are you going to let me go?”

“When the tests are completed,” the mask replied.

The tone was dead level without emotion. It felt almost as alien as the craft stealing my Marva away. Reality seemed a distant place I visited once. My ticket had been punched and now I resided in a locked room without windows with my blood being drawn. I was the alien here.

Time passed. I know not how long. Day and night were meaningless things. The questions stopped. Those yucky tasting freeze dried meals came more often than I wanted them to. I was lost in limbo. Then the dreams started.

“We are done here, Mister Thomas. You are free to go. Talk about any of this and we’ll destroy you, understand?” The voice behind the mask said. “Drink this.”

I did. Things got fuzzy fast, then dark and the recurring dream began. There was this man size bug looking much like a cockroach. There was Martha, too. They wanted something from me. It seemed important to each of them.

You know how dreams get so vivid? Martha began crying. I couldn’t understand her. The bug made chittery noises coming across angry with buzz. “Martha.” Calling her name woke me. I was back in our car were I’d left it.

My arm itched where the masked man had injected me with truth serum and who knew what else. There was a slight bump where my fingers pressed. It made me wonder what else they’d put in me. “No telling.”

It was hell hot under a blazing white sun. Nothing else was up there but some kind of vulture bird riding the silent air. I drove numbed out, without direction, across the desert flats. Martha whispered in my mind. It comforted me. “You’re safe.” That was all that mattered.

She came to me in the after taste of my drugged out sleep in the car. “Johnny? Wake up. Come get me.”

I watched the gas tank needle drop to near empty. Steam rose from the radiator. The engine sighed wearily and quit. Through the tear misted windshield the ghostly outline of Martha beckoned. I got out of the car, slammed the door shut and followed. “Where are you? What did that thing do to you?”

Now I had the questions. The bump in my arm itched with new warmth. “Wait a sec, hon.” Nowhere on this good Earth doesn’t have litter. I picked up a Coke bottle weathered among lost years. It shattered into glass fragments against a desert rock.

I used the same rock to smash the bloody electronic pill I cut out of me. Martha urged me on faster. There didn’t seem to be much time. “Faster than light travel, John. Virgin planets in the blink of an eye. They want help colonizing them. Bringing us or our children back to mother Earth to explain things when the rest are ready to listen.”

There was a larger group of us than I thought banded together, culled by I know not what requirements. Martha explained I had just made the cut, petitioned by her love and refusal to leave without me.

The bugs buzzed, clicked and prodded as the white hot sun assumed the look and shape of the alien space ship. Its red tractor beam drew us floating up. Martha didn’t struggle this time so neither did I.

“Look. I hope there is an Earth to come back to. The Xill aren’t so sure. We may not be colonizers. Our group may be the only survivors if climate change, pollution, and a new dark age has sway.”

The Xill might look like cockroaches but treated us with more humanity than our own kind. The new planet was a virtual Eden. Darwin didn’t exist here. A natural circle of life nurtured a balance into being. Everything existed in harmony, giving up sustenance voluntarily when it died.

It was sad when next Martha and I agreed to go back to Mother Earth. This planet felt more a safe and happy home. The Xill proved to have saved us from ourselves. We witnessed the radioactive remains transforming Earth into something like Mars.

Apparently Earth had been mankind’s second chance at making a place in the universe. Perhaps we'd be intelligent enough so that the third time would be a charm.
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